Galleries - December 2015

The Gift of Art buy what I like is fine for you but does not neccessarily work if you are buying for someone else. The dealer has effectively done the looking and researching for you, they are immersed in the market and if their gallery has traded for a while you can rely on their proven eye and ability to have something special to offer. By and large, trust the dealer and listen to what they say. Ask questions; about them, their business, their relationship with the artists of the works you like. They are experts. If you do all this and you cannot fathom the rudiments of the background of the work, and a lot of money is involved, caveat emptor – this isn’t a Christmas present it’s a ride at the Derby but as they say – as long as you think the gift will be cherished and liked and loved, you are safe. What of the picture, the image, the medium, the size? Famously in the 80s, works with provenance were sent to the Japanese market with price estimates based on area of canvas, or so the papers would have you believe. With a new work this is something of an outlandish notion, if you look at the price of a picture and step back, think simply of the time and skills you are paying for. A detailed canvas can take days to finish and if you think in ‘plumbing hours’, artworks can seem ridiculously inexpensive, let alone considering the intangible value. It is a while before the artist sees a financial appreciation over that of the time spent in creation. Remember the cost of the materials, the frame, the rent, the dealer’s overheads, placed “Where did you get this wonderful picture?” “Yes isn’t it lovely, Paul bought it for me for Christmas, I don’t know how much it cost but I know the children will be vying for it one day – it’s already a family heirloom.” They say that it is easier to give than receive – most of the time, but when a work of art is revealed on Christmas morning, with luck the balance will be equal. Artworks are unique on the Christmas gift spectrum, they embody an intangible aura that nothing else can emulate, they do not have to cost the earth and most galleries and studios are sympathetic to exchanges if the aura doesn’t quite illuminate. These words and the following pages are designed to help you look at and consider works and media that you might not know or would otherwise not have thought of approaching in the event that you are stuck for a present. While there are galleries, studios and works in this Christmas focus that are of the moment, Galleries magazine is the undisputed guide to the depth and breadth that the market has to offer and should be sought out to complement it (if you are not reading this as part of the magazine). Eshew the Internet except for greater research on leads you might have uncovered and visit galleries and studios to smell the oil, ink and heat of creation - it is much more rewarding. Recognise the importance of galleries and dealers. It is tempting to try and leapfrog the galleries and seek out artists directly for a ‘better’ price, the cliché – I know what I like and RosemaryClunie ‘Rainbow Fish’ screenprint ‘Artworks are unique on the Christmas gift spectrum, they embody an intangible aura that nothing else can emulate’ Published by Barrington Publications Riverside Studios, 65 Aspenlea Road London W6 8LH T. 020 8237 1180 ISSN 0265-7511 8 GALLERIES CHRISTMAS 2015